Able to help others in more ways than she had imagined

Cassandra JohnsonCassandra Johnson is a junior Human Services Leadership (HSL) major, with a Psychology minor,  from Fond du Lac, Wis.,  who is enrolled through the Human Services Collaborative Degree Program (though she is taking her electives on the UW Oshkosh campus). She choose HSL because she has always wanted to help others, and with the degree she will be able to help others in more ways than she had imagined.

I am interning at Solutions Center Shelter and Support Services, a non-profit organization. They provide the only homeless and domestic violence shelters in Fond du Lac County. They have the Men’s Shelter, Women’s Shelter and most recently the Family Shelter. They also have their office where there is a therapist, child/teen advocate, and the housing advocate. The housing advocate helps those who have a pending eviction notice or a electric disconnection notice. There are guidelines and stipulations on who and when they can assist though.

I will be interning with Michelle, the Child & Teen Advocate. She meets with the children in shelter at least on a weekly basis, goes to various schools in the Fond du Lac School District and has groups on having healthy relationships. She also serves as one of the legal advocates on staff.

I want to work in the behavioral health field, primarily with children. I hope to learn various coping techniques from Michelle and different ways to approach a difficult topic with children. I am also hoping to learn how to help children and their parents have better communication and an overall better relationship.

I have volunteered over the summer at Solutions Center and worked with Michelle multiple times, so I feel that has helped prepare me on what environment I will enter, though the clients change often. It isn’t known whether or not I am able to work at the schools with Michelle, but we are hoping to hear soon on whether or not the district will allow it.

I am very excited about this opportunity I have been given and ready for this experience to begin.

Starting online student teaching

uwosh picMike Wilbert, a non-traditional student from Black Creek, Wisc. is a Special Education major. He is completing a nine-week placement with the Wisconsin Virtual Academy, based in McFarland, Wisc.

I chose special education as my major because I wanted to teach a population of students who sometimes aren’t given opportunities to succeed.  Also, special education students have an honesty and realness about them that is difficult to find in a regular education setting.

As a non-traditional student it is difficult to find time to be involved on campus, most of my time is spent with my wife and our new baby girl.  I am excited to be in the last leg of my college journey. My wife is definitely ready for me to finish student teaching and get into the field.

My first student teaching placement is with the Wisconsin Virtual Academy.  This placement is almost 100% online. While most of the instruction is done via online classrooms, there will be times I will have to travel.  Times of travel will be for WKCE Testing as well as formal testing for placement into special education.  I am really excited to use some web 2.0 tools to create novel and engaging lessons.

I think this is not only a great platform for students who do not do well in the tradition brick and mortar setting, but also for students within a traditional school who may need something different to succeed. I look forward to learning the curriculum and thinking of ways to incorporate this media into my future classroom.  I am not particularly tech savvy and teaching in an online format will give me the ability to dive in, try new tools and techniques and be better for it.

Watching Students Grow

Suspenders1Paul Franzowiak, Menomonee Falls, Wi., is a Secondary Education Major with an emphasis in Mathematics. After tutoring friends in math, he was inspired to become a teacher. He will have a full 18 week placement at Maplewood Middle School in Menasha.

I feel like it’s been several weeks since I last blogged for the COEHS and my time at Maplewood is still flying by. Next weekend at this time I will be an alumni of the  University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. I look back and still can remember my first day of college classes and soon enough it will all end. I feel this exact same way with my student teaching placement. I remember walking in my first day and I’m now only a few short weeks of completing my student teaching.

I’ve started to observe other teachers and see how their teaching styles differ from mine. I’ve taken away many different tips, tricks, and words of wisdom from those who know their students and curriculum very well. I know that when I become a full-time teacher I won’t be given many of these opportunities to see other teachers, so I’m trying to get into as many classrooms as possible. I was also able to attend the Green Lake Math Conference this past week and experience many different techniques other teachers around the state are using. This was a good experience to help me stay current with different teaching practices and the ability to see how well these new techniques are working. I took away a lot from this conference and hope to attend it for many years to come.

A couple weekends ago, I ran in the Oshkosh Half Marathon. The next day I shared with the students that I took part in this event and wore a specialty made shirt that I wore during the race. I shared with the students the importance and meaning behind the things on the shirt. After this day, I feel that many of the students started to look at me differently. We were able to relate on a different level and they were able to see a different side of me. I haven’t shared many stories about my life outside of the classroom and being able to share these kinds of stories and sharing parts of my life have gone a long way. This story impacted a few of the students so much that they actually made me a giant card and gave me a balloon that congratulated me on finishing the race and going through this time in my life. I was not expecting anything like this and it really opened my eyes to how much the students and I have grown over the past semester.

In helping others, we help ourselves.

JacquelineJackie Paplham, from Kewaunee, Wisc., is in her fifth year at UW Oshkosh and will be graduating this May. She is majoring in Human Services with minors  in Psychology, Women Studies and Social Justice with an emphasis in Prejudice and Discrimination. Follow along as she shares her internship experiences during her final semester at UW Oshkosh.

The Human Services Leadership program has provided significant contributions to my personal and professional growth and identity.  My advanced internship’s at CHAPS Academy and Dispute Solutions provided exceptional learning environments and experiences.  These placements allowed my skills to be demonstrated, hone and created while crafting sentimental memories that have redirected my future.

CHAPS and Dispute Solutions fostered an environment where human behavior and interaction could be observed and understood through a cognitive, humanistic, behavioral, legal and ethical multicultural and environmental perspective.  I observed how staff interacted with clients and community members, and how clients and community members interacted with staff.  This allowed me to critically think about the approaches taken and evaluate strengths and weaknesses.  Through these placements I learned the power of stories.  Stories can hinder and or liberate people.  Reflecting upon client’s stories has placed my own life into perspective.  Observing what staff does on a daily basis taught me the importance of balance and boundaries.  Creating a healthy balance between work and life is crucial to maintain optimal performance in each.  On the other hand, constructing healthy boundaries with clients is a skill I was challenged to refine.

CHAPS and Dispute Solutions serve those who are going through crisis situations in their lives.  I was challenged to create healthy boundaries with those clients.  I developed rapport and then created avenues for self-empowerment with the clients.  For example, I implemented and presented an empowering presentation to the Hope Lives program.  I honed my responsive listening and problem solving skills at both placements.  I designed and executed a fundraising event that generated $400 in profit for CHAPS.  I was able to demonstrate diverse communication skills using the creative arts.  For example, communication was created through the use of songs, dance, cooking, animals and outdoor activities.  Most importantly I learned to understand the power of silence.  Generating a unique lesson, I used silence as responses.  I practiced intervention strategies and crisis management skills in high pressure situations.  I combined patience, determination and persistence to troubleshot issues.

My professional experiences affect my personal growth and my personal growth affects my professional experiences.  Appreciating the diversity of individuals is extremely valuable.  I believe individuals communicating their stories create appreciation.  One realizes we are more alike than different.  It is in helping others, we help ourselves.

I made significant contributions to my placements just as they made significant contributions to my growth and identityMy conversations about my future have changed significantly.  The skills developed and honed in my advanced internships identified the future I want for myself in the Human Services profession.  I discovered how much I value my role in leadership positions and relationships with clients.  I thrive off the challenge to demonstrate multilevel resourcefulness and advocacy.  These factors I discovered through CHAPS and Dispute Solutions will be the direction I take in my future.  After graduation I will be moving to Thailand to teach English!  Once I return, I will pursue a job in the human services profession and continue my education in graduate school.

I absolutely loved my internship

Alli ThompsonAlli Thompson, from Wisconsin Rapids is currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh majoring in Human Services, with a minor in History.  At the UW Oshkosh she juggles four classes while serving as president of the Human Service Organization along with being a member of  National Society of Leadership and Success and Golden Key International Honor Society. Follow her as she blogs about her final semester at UWO and her internship experience at Winnebago Mental Health Institute.

WOW! I cannot believe how fast this semester as flown by.  It is hard to believe that I will be graduating in less than 10 days. I absolutely loved my internship and the staff members I had the privilege of working with during my 280-hour internship at Winnebago Mental Health Institute.

This last month was a crazy one.  As you all know I was in charge of planning the Volunteer Recognition Luncheon.  This was a ton of work, but an awesome experience too.  I learned a lot about what goes on behind the scenes of putting on a large scale event.  As I said in my earlier blog I had to go around the Oshkosh and ask for donations, not in money but in gift cards or other items.  This was stressful, because when you follow up with many of the places they say they will get back to you but often times don’t.  I felt like a pest, but I guess if that is what it takes to start a fire under someone to go then by all means I was going to do it.  I also made a bingo game for the volunteers to play at the recognition.  It consisted of me making up 36 questions, finding pictures as the answers of the questions, cutting them all out, pasting them together.  This project was very time consuming.  However, during the process I learned a lot about the institutions past.  Linda and myself also went shopping to find prizes for the volunteers.  This was tricky because we wanted to stay with our recipe theme, but also provide gifts that would be useful.  In other words, it sounds pretty easy but it wasn’t, ha.  I also worked on another project.  WMHI had a recipe book of their favorite recipes for 1873 to 1983. My job was to retype the recipes onto recipe cars.  I then had to pick three out of the group bunch them together and place them in the recipe card holder (which was another crafty project I did).

When the event got closer I was started to get nervous.  I kept thinking to myself what if they don’t like the prizes? What if they hate the theme? What if they don’t enjoy themselves? The day of setting up it all came together and I think it was the perfect set up.  I was SO ecstatic on how things looked together.   Everyone loved the theme and thought everything was well done.  We even got compliments like this is the best Volunteer Recognition in years.  Overall, I was happy that all my hard work had paid off.  It was stressful at times, but also a ton of fun.  It is nice to see how an event works from start to finish.

The 140th Birthday Celebration went well.  However, there were a few kinks.  But my favorite part of that week was talking about the posters we had put together with some of the female patients in Petersik.  It was nice to interact with the patients again and answer their questions about how the institute was once run.  The open house for the museum was decent.  We expected more people due to the fact the museum was open for longer hours, but that did not happen as planned.  However, I enjoyed myself leading mini tours and answering questions that the guest had.  So, if you are every looking for something do to please stop by WMHI Museum 1-3:30 p.m. Thursdays from February to October.  Don’t be a stranger — there is tons to learn and look at!

My last day was Monday; I technically finished the week of the recognition event, but enjoyed myself so I continued to volunteer.  I was super sad to leave WMHI.  Over my time there I have learned to much about the institute, myself, and others that it was as if I was closing a chapter in book.  I know for a fact that I will be in contact with Linda and few of the other staff I got to know really well during my time.  In the end if you are looking for a place to challenge yourself, to experience new things WMHI is the place to do it.  I honestly loved my experience, if I didn’t I wouldn’t have had tears in my eyes as I drove away.

Lastly, make sure you pick something that scares you,  you will learn so much more about yourself if step out of your comfort zone!

Rewarding Experiences

0Samantha Hessel, from Maribel WI. She will be licensed Special Education Cross Categorical Middle Childhood through Adolescence with an emphasis in learning disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders Certificate, and a Spanish minor. Her 18-week placement is taking place at Shattuck Middle School.

Student teaching is flying by! I can’t believe I am over half way through this experience! It is super exciting, but terrifying and sad at the same time. I realize my time at my school is coming to a close and I love my placement and kids so much. I do not want to let them go! I have truly enjoyed my 18 week placement and am so thankful that I have been able to spend an extended amount of time with my kiddos. I feel the last couple weeks have allowed me to truly get to know my kids and to continue building relationships with them. Some of them it has taken me at least half of the semester to build a trusting relationship with them, others it clicked much sooner. Along with trying to lesson plan, complete my assignments, and get the most out of this experience I have been applying for jobs. That in and of itself is stressful. When I attended my first “real” job interview I was terrified. That is an emotional experience no one can prepare you for until you are in the throes of it. At times I feel my “to-do” list is never ending.

Student teaching is by the far the most influential, exciting, terrifying, and rewarding experience of my educational career. I feel I finally have had a true taste of what teaching will be like and know I am in the right profession.

Middle School Transition

jenniferbackesJennifer Backes,  from South Milwaukee, is majoring in Music Education with an emphasis on Instrumental and General Education. Her inspiration to become a teacher comes from long line of educators and a desire to spread her passion of music to others  Her 18-week placement is broken down by the first 9-weeks at Rosenow Elementary in Fond du Lac, and the second at Merrill and Webster-Stanley Middle Schools in Oshkosh.
I am finishing up my fourth week at my middle school placement and it is certainly a huge change from my elementary placement.  Instead of walking into a classroom filled with happy children who instantly love you, these kids are a bit more guarded.  They take awhile to warm-up to you and regard you as some weird stranger who couldn’t possibly have a clue as to what to do.  I could tell from the first week that it was going to take a much longer time for them to accept me than it did for my elementary kids.
So it was a bit of a rough transition.  Not only was I someone new but I am also the very first female student teacher that has been with this cooperating teacher.  He has always had male clinical students and student teachers.  So all of his classes have been used to college men rather than women coming in and assisting.  While some of them were very excited to finally have a woman, others were a bit more guarded.  It has taken these four weeks for many of them to accept me and some are still a bit wary.  But it is certainly a lot more fun now than it was during the first couple of weeks.
Middle schoolers in general are a bunch of fidgety kids so put an instrument in their hands and it can be downright crazy!  I have picked up many good techniques from my cooperating teacher on getting them to quiet down without have to shout over all the noise.  My cooperating teacher is fantastic and works really well with this age group.  I’m not entirely sure if I’m cut out to work with this age level but it has certainly been an interesting experience and I am excited to see where else this will take me!

Coming To an End…

Loryn CornetteSenior Human Service Leadership major, Loryn Cornette, of Greenleaf, blogs about her final semester at UW Oshkosh. Loryn juggles being a full time student, holding the Treasurer position of the Human Services Organization on campus, having an on campus job in the Undergraduate Academic Resource Center as a Peer Advising Liaison, and working 21 hours a week at her advanced internship placement at UW-Fox Valley’s Student Services Office.  Follow Loryn’s blog posts as she writes about her final experiences on campus before commencement in May.

As the semester nears towards the end, so does my 280 hour Advanced Internship placement at the University of Wisconsin Fox Valley working with the TRiO – Educational Talent Search program within the Student Affairs Office.  I have truly gained an enormous amount of information regarding the grant TRiO program, the students the program serves, and various universities and colleges around the state regarding admission processes and campus life.

My main project within the TRiO program was working with TRiO alumni students at UW Fox Valley.  I had a core group of 24 alumni students that I was able to meet with regularly throughout the semester. The improvements and results from these students are outstanding and I am very impressed with the progress.  It has been a great experience working with students at UW Fox Valley and being able to act as a support system for the students.

Another project included coordinating a Pre College Summer Program booklet for the Kaukauna and Menasha school coordinators to hand out to students. I compiled a booklet of Wisconsin universities and colleges around the state that conducted summer pre college programs for middle and high school students. The school coordinators held a Pre College Parent Night for parents of both districts to attend to learn more about the programs and to get more information.

Between working with students and completing projects at UW-Fox Valley, I also chaperoned many different field trips throughout the semester.  Field trips to UW-Whitewater, UW-Milwaukee, Marquette University, Discovery World, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, UW-Fox Valley, and UW Oshkosh kept me busy throughout my internship hours as well. It was interesting to learn about different universities and colleges around the state and what they have to offer to students.

I also had the opportunity to take part in the Regional Placement Testing as an Administrator for two Saturday’s in April. I administered a room of 70 students, which was the largest testing room for both days. This was a great experience because I was able to get comfortable speaking to a large audience and monitoring a large group of people. This opportunity has only helped prepare me for next fall as I help assist with a 1 credit business course with Career Services to a lecture pit of 120 students.

Odds-and-ends projects and events have filled various hours throughout my time at UW Fox Valley. I was fortunate enough to attend two conferences held at UW Fox regarding higher education, along with various speakers and authors that visited the campus.  There was never a time within my 280 hours that I felt bored or had nothing to do. My 280 hour Advanced Internship Placement was one of the best opportunities I had had thus far in my education career.

A Bittersweet Break

MelissaMelissa Waltersfrom Milwaukee, is graduating with a dual major in special education and general education for first through eighth grade. She has had a life long dream of becoming a teacher. Her 18-week session is broken into two 9-week programs. Oliver Wendell Holmes Elementary  for the first 9-weeks, and Bethune Academy for the second both in the Milwaukee Public School System.
My placement at OW Holmes was a whirlwind experience.  I can’t believe that my first nine week placement has come to an end.  It is bittersweet because although I was ready for a little break from the daily grind, it will be very difficult not going back to my students come Monday morning. They were very sad on my last day but I know that each of them know that they are special to me and that I will always remember them. I could not have imagined a better classroom or a better group of students for my first student teaching placement.

Reflecting on my first placement, I realized just how happy I am with my decision to pursue student teaching in the city of Milwaukee through the Institute of Urban Education.  While it hasn’t been without some difficulties, this urban setting truly feels like home.  Having lived my whole life in the metropolitan area before going to school in Oshkosh, I’ve always had a connection to the city. The experiences are very different than those I had in the Fox Valley, but the students are still great kids and the school are still doing all they can to be the best. For those who are interested in jobs in the Milwaukee area after graduation, I would implore you to seriously consider the IUE for your student teaching opportunity.

Some of the best experiences I’ve had while student teaching came through getting to know my students.  I had the opportunity to write many of their IEPs and attend those meetings.  In working to write an effective IEP, I completed different formal and informal assessments to write reasonable goals and and accurate Present Level of Academic and Functional Performance page.  I was also sure to make connections with each student to understand the best way to reach out to them throughout the school day.  Each student has a different background, different likes and different attributes that they bring to the classroom.  The best part about being their student teacher was finding those little unique qualities and targeting instruction to each child.

It was difficult to walk out the doors of Holmes on the last day of my placement, but if my next placement is anything like my first, I very much look forward to beginning my next placement at Bethune Academy.

Trying Out Teaching Styles


Paul Franzowiak, Menomonee Falls, Wi., is a Secondary Education Major with an emphasis in Mathematics. After tutoring friends in math, he was inspired to become a teacher. He will have a full 18 week placement at Maplewood Middle School in Menasha.

Spring break has come and gone, I can’t believe that it’s already April 5th. The time and the days seem to be going faster and faster as the semester goes on. Many other student teachers have started their new placements and I’m still continuing mine. I’m very interested to see how these next nine or so weeks go. I’m so excited to be graduating in the next couple weeks and move onto having a full-time job.

Some days I wish I had the opportunity to student teach in a high school setting to compare the differences in the age groups. I often find myself repeating many of the directions I give the students and having to discipline students more than I would like to. I feel that having to deal with some of these issues hold us back from moving forward in our material. However, we keep pushing through the material and moving forward to try and get through everything by the end of the year. This week we tried out a few new teaching ideas and got the kids moving around in the classroom. Many of the students were very enthusiastic about this opportunity and willing to participate more. Not only does this help create an authentic learning experience, but makes teaching that much easier and enjoyable. It was also nice to have this experience to relate back to in later lessons. Creating these types of experiences aren’t easy for teachers, but are well worth the time and effort when a teacher sees how much knowledge the students have learned.

Since I have done a lot of full-time teaching over the past few weeks, my co-operating teacher and I have started to try out co-teaching with each other. Since neither of us has had many opportunities to do this, we thought it would be a good time to try it out. We know how each other teacher and play off each other very well. It may be a different way of thinking or saying something out loud that gives he students a different view point throughout the lesson. The more we do it, the more we find the positives and negatives about this teaching style. If given the opportunity, I would definitely recommend trying out this type of teaching style. It’s something new and different and this may be the only time I ever get to do this.

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